The first month of 2019 saw a significant drop in overdose deaths compared to the same time last year, according to the BC Coroners Service.
In January of 2018, the coroners office reported 130 overdose deaths in BC and at the end of the year, in December, 2018, there were 116 overdose deaths. In January of 2019, the province saw 90 overdose deaths, a 31% drop from the same time last year and a 22% decline from one month earlier.
In total, the number of illicit drug overdose deaths in BC in January of 2019, equaled approximately 2.9 deaths per day.
- There were nearly 1,500 drug overdose deaths in BC in 2018
- Over half of BC residents who died of drug overdoses had mental health disorders
Fentanyl detection on the rise
While the number of overdose deaths appears to be on the decline, the rate of fentanyl and carfentanil continues to rise.
In 2018, there was a total of 1,310 overdose deaths that featured fentanyl, a 7% increase from 2017.
Meanwhile, in January 2019, carfentanil was detected at a much higher rate than last year and contributed to 13 overdose deaths. In comparison, in 2018, the synthetic opioid was detected in 35 overdose deaths for the entire year.
According to the coroners service, Victoria saw the third highest amount of drug overdoses in 2018, just behind Vancouver and Surrey.
In January of 2019, Victoria saw five overdose deaths and Nanaimo saw one.
Overdose deaths continue to be the number one cause of unnatural deaths in British Columbians by a landslide.